If you live in the Northern Rivers you may have been lucky enough to be served a coffee & have a chat with this incredibly kind & smiley woman. It's people like Soph that are the little strings that tie our community together, they need our support right now so they can continue to stay afloat & be there to brighten the days that follow this uncertain time.
Soph kindly took the time to answer my questions about dealing with isolation & the constantly changing restrictions on businesses like hers & Jack's.
Well where to start!
Jack and I have our little cafe Elwood in Burringbar together. We opened in September last year and have shared the early morning food prep, yawns and dog walks the whole way. We're incredibly lucky to be apart of the community in Burringbar and the shop has been going really well.
Thankfully the business hasn't been affected too badly financially. However before we knew what the restrictions on businesses would be, we felt a real sense of anxiety and panic about our future. We've been building Elwood from late last year and in that time created something so unique and precious that letting go to close for a bit felt scary (what if we couldn't open again for months? What if we were letting the community down? What if we lose money?)
The past few months have been really introspective for me. I think we're going through the various emotions that I think a lot of people have.
Because it wasn't immediately clear as to what was going to happen there was a lot of fear based ideas and speculation swirling around and ultimately closing for a few weeks was the best decision we could make without spiralling into a world of worry.
I've come to a place of peace and solace with those worries mainly due to time passing and it becoming clearer that ultimately we will be okay. We have to trust ourselves and each other. I firmly believe in creating our own realities amongst this landscape that we've never really been in control of.
I've been doing this by triumphing small choices, like reading books I wouldn't make much time for ('Swell' by Captain Liz Clarke, 'Detours' by Tim Rogers and 'Year of the Monkey' Patti Smith) and watching films I wouldn't have normally chosen (Italian 'Life Is Beautiful' and 'A Fish Called Wanda' were a couple of goodies).
Getting up early instead of laying on my phone too much and walking the dogs a lot has kept the funk away.
I've also stopped drinking alcohol this year and I've noticed how staying present has helped with more deep set anxieties I have carried, making all this change more bearable.
I've been gardening too (hasn't everyone?) And cooking things I find comforting.. buttery mashed sweet potatoes have been rediscovered and champion buttery vegemite toast, magnificent at any tick of the clock!!
For hospitality, moving forward into the unknown time of restriction is going to be a challenge.
Speaking for us at Elwood, we have built the concept on people coming together. To talk about the weather, the news of the day and catch up with that person you've been meaning to call for ages. Meet someone new for business or pleasure. To eat delicious food slowly and drink carefully poured coffee slowly. To watch the comings and goings of a place you belong to.
And this is my fear for the industry as this time, sickness and fear directly contradicts all of that. Not to dismiss the importance and our understanding of why these measures are in place, of course.
But we will, nay, MUST, fight to safely maintain these foundations.
Good music, extra love into the food and coffee, a quick heartfelt check in with friends and community. We can still safely share and connect.
The most helpful thought for me at the moment is- call someone you care about and drink lots of water!
We can put on Prince and wiggle our hearts out AND we can also let the weight catch up and cry in the doona with a cup of tea.
Both are perfectly fine.
Lots of love,
Elwood do a great take home coffee bag of beans & can grind them for you too.
(I'm sipping on my home made Elwood brew right now) Soph & Jack will be back in the Cafe serving takeaways with their big cheeky grins as of Wednesday 15th April!
Follow their journey on Instagram for all trading updates @elwood.burringbar